“We need to speak out on this endemic of speaking out,” said Dr. Andrew Feinstein, Chair of the AMA’s Women’s Health Board. “For years we’ve responded to our female patients’ concerns with, ‘Yikes. You should really keep that to yourself,’ but we are seeing an alarming number of women becoming immune to that treatment.”
The study of over 4,000 physicians revealed that patients frequently came to them with “women’s complaints,” “feminine yapping,” and “graphic descriptions of discharge.” Common treatments include turning the patient to face the wall, and making rambling analogies in order to dodge the subject altogether. They agreed that more doctors should be applying these measures as a way of combating the precious vacation time lost to informed female patients.
“Sometimes, I’ll tell her I forgot something very important in my office and I’ll be right back,” said Dr. Feinstein. He added, “Then I never come back.”
Dr. Joel McCabe, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Johns Hopkins University and a participant in the study, agreed. “The issue is a lack of education or awareness—they have no idea how gross it is to hear about girl stuff right before lunch.”
When polled on the most important issues to never discuss, frequent responses included lumps, not-sexy butt stuff, itching, periods, and anything involving the word “folds.”
When asked if there were types of patients who particularly need to avoid raising their concerns about their bodies, Drs. Feinstein and McCabe gave the same answer: “The old ones.”
Dr. Feinstein elaborated, saying, “I mean yuck, right?”
The board is in the process of securing funding to disseminate the study’s findings so that doctors everywhere can be trained to discount their patients’ experience.
“Until that day,” said Dr. Feinstein, “you can always pull the fire alarm.”